`Crawling at your feet,’ said the Gnat (Alice drew her feet back in some alarm), `you may observe a Bread-and-Butterfly. Its wings are thin slices of Bread-and-butter, its body is a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar.’
`And what does it live on?’
`Weak tea with cream in it.’
A new difficulty came into Alice’s head. `Supposing it couldn’t find any?’ she suggested.
`Then it would die, of course.’
`But that must happen very often,’ Alice remarked thoughtfully.
`It always happens,’ said the Gnat.
After this, Alice was silent for a minute or two, pondering. The Gnat amused itself meanwhile by humming round and round her head: at last it settled again and remarked, `I suppose you don’t want to lose your name?’
`No, indeed,’ Alice said, a little anxiously.
`And yet I don’t know,’ the Gnat went on in a careless tone: `only think how convenient it would be if you could manage to go home without it! For instance, if the governess wanted to call you to your lessons, she would call out “come here — ,” and there she would have to leave off, because there wouldn’t be any name for her to all, and of course you wouldn’t have to go, you know.’
`That would never do, I’m sure,’ said Alice: `the governess would never think of excusing me lessons for that. If she couldn’t remember my name, she’d call me “Miss!” as the servants do.’
`Well. if she said “Miss,” and didn’t say anything more,’ the Gnat remarked, `of course you’d miss your lessons. That’s a joke. I wish you had made it.’
`Why do you wish I had made it?’ Alice asked. `It’s a very bad one.’
But the Gnat only sighed deeply, while two large tears came rolling down its cheeks.
`You shouldn’t make jokes,’ Alice said, `if it makes you so unhappy.’
Then came another of those melancholy little sighs, and this time the poor Gnat really seemed to have sighed itself away, for, when Alice looked up, there was nothing whatever to be seen on the twig, and, as she was getting quite chilly with sitting still so long, she got up and walked on.
I have had a painful realization. I don’t know what to do about it. And I’m still unfolding all the little bits about it, and I don’t know quite what’s true, what’s half-true, what’s three-quarters false, and what’s a lie pretending very well to be true. Let’s see if we can find out, together.
I take a lot of medicine. True! This is the truth. I take a shitload.
It hampers my ability to write. Open to interpretation. Someone pointed out that this maybe situational. I hate a lot of things right now, and that maybe hampering my creativity. I am trying to be open to this. I really feel the medicine has a lot to do with it, but I am trying to be open-minded, because the more ways out of this shitty situation, the better.
I want to change my medication until I get the right cocktail that will make me able to write (I just typed “right” and didn’t catch it for minutes–this is bad, people, really bad stuff I’m on) and not suicidal or crazy. True! I don’t think this is too much to ask for. But it may be. I may have to live without one or the other. My quality of life may suffer.
I may have to relearn how to write. True. Turdy truth. The worst truth of the bunch. The heart of the matter. This is really the realization I had. This is a hard one. I have done it before. I relearned how to write without the use of mind- and mood-altering chemicals. I can do it again under the influence of mind- and mood-stifling chemicals. It’ll be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Who knows; maybe I’ll even come out stronger at the end of the process, for all I’ve learned. Maybe I’ll have a better voice. There’s still me under all that muffler. But it’s not worth it to lose my life when you can relearn a skill.
See, I don’t think I have talent. I always ask artists if they believe in talent and what they think it is. I think I have skill. I taught myself to write. I think I learned from my mistakes. I’ve been writing consistently since I was seven years old, so I’m not shitty. I have a voice. So I can whittle away at all this medicated fat that’s built up around my muscles. It’ll just be a lot of painful work.
It’s hard to be bad at something once you know that you can be good at it, and when you know the difference between good and bad work. When I learned the first time, I didn’t know the difference. The second time, I did, and it hurt like hell. I had to switch genres to do it. I used to be a poet, you know. Yes, I was one of them. But I don’t believe in talent all the more because my poetry muscles are atrophied. I can’t write sonnets any more, and I used to whip ’em out. That is nothing to be proud of.
I am putting a lot of internal pressure on myself. True! It just feels so pressured right now. I feel under stress to get applications done. I feel trapped at work, and like this is my only way out. I’m putting so much stock in this it is ridiculous. As if the only way I will be happy is one possible future. It’s like a set of dominoes on end, knocking each other down, and everything must be set up perfectly or Seer is miserable. That’s unrealistic. I usually don’t get my way and I am fine. I can make do. I always do. But I’m okay with Top Ramen; I want filet mignon. I may not be happy with what meets my needs.
What I submit for my applications may not be my best work. True! So fucking what? The world won’t end. I can either apply again if I get in nowhere, or make another plan. Cross that bridge when I get to it, because that’s not now. That’s April. Five months from now. Worry about acceptance and rejection when it actually happens.
I don’t have to go to school to write. True! I don’t even have to go to school to write with other people.
I need to be healthy, mentally, if I am going to succeed in school. True. I know this is true. This is why I’ve dropped out of school every time. Unbalanced. If I can’t hang, I will leave. I need a stable mind if I am going to participate in my education, so I can’t dick around with my medication too much. It’s a priority to find the best combination, yes, but finding something that works is important.
My new normal may not be like my old normal. Questionable. I have heard this from my doctor and someone else and I don’t know if I’m ready to settle for this (write≠right, people) yet. Maybe I’m chasing the unattainable, but I think that life is better than this, even for people like me. I still feel like this is brute force meds. I don’t think that what is happening is acceptable.
I tie my worth too much to whether or not I can perform in my writing right now. True. Too true. It’s all about what I can do and not who I am. That’s sad. I’m a good person. I’m a loving friend. I’m a good kid. And my world view is that everyone is good enough, no matter what they do. Actions don’t define your worth. That’s includes me.
I am still taking my acne incredibly seriously. True. Yep, that’s true. Don’t know what to do about that.
So Seer, where do Alice, the Gnat, and the Bread-and-Butterfly come in?
When I started this post, I felt like my deferred dreams were the Bread-and-Butterfly. They will always die; they will never get the nourishment they need to survive. I can’t give it to them for one reason or another. I will always fail. I go to this place often. I can’t get what I want because I will ultimately fail. Not as often as I used to, but I still get my frequent buyer card punched and usually get a free fail at the end of the month.
Then I was the Gnat. The sad observer. Never really participating. Always giving bland, sad suggestions and taking everything so personally, just wanting to disappear. I’d really like to both take some time off from life right now and get off for a minute and fast forward this part. I’d like to do the opposites.
And the idea of losing myself, losing my name. Being someone else, being nobody, having a fugue. Sometimes I fantasize about waking up as someone else. I know I can’t be the only one. I wish I could manifest another life so hard–like the bitch with money reality show–that I could come to in that life. Yeah, it would mean I’d have had a psychotic break, but it would be delightful, if it weren’t so fucking scary.
Yeah, I just want to change my feelings. Sometimes, for some of us, the lucky few, we just have to feel them.
And I still don’t know what to do about all this. Maybe things’ll look better in the morning.